Screenshot a Portion of the Screen in Windows 10 [Winkey+Shift+S]

Starting with the Windows 10 Creators Update, OneNote’s popular screenshot feature has been made an Operating System feature — you can capture a specific region of your screen to the clipboard using the Win + Shift + S shortcut key.

Screenshot a Portion of the Screen

Press Winkey + Shift + S. The screen will be covered with an overlay and mouse cursor turns into a plus (+) symbol, which indicate that the capture mode is on.

screenshot specific portion of screen

Since Windows 10 v1809, you’ll see the following bar at the top. From there, choose one of the snipping modes: Rectangular snip, Freeform snip, or Fullscreen snip.

win shift s - snip and sketch - snip bar

Choose Rectangular, Freeform, Window snip, or a Full-screen snip. This copies the particular portion, window, or the full screen to the clipboard. It also saves the file (in recent Windows 10 builds such as 2004/20H2 and higher) to a temporary folder.

Open Paint or any other image editor of your choice and paste (Ctrl +  V) the image from the clipboard.

screenshot specific portion of screen

Note that this feature replaces the one in OneNote 2016.

Winkey + Shift + S is powered by Snip & Sketch in v1809 & higher

In Windows 10 v1809 and higher, the Winkey + Shift + S is powered by the new Snip & Sketch feature. You’re shown the 3 snipping options when you use the keystroke. Snip & Sketch is the new tool that will replace the legacy Snipping Tool in future Windows 10 builds.

Winkey + Shift + S uses the Snipping Tool in Creators Update

In Windows 10 Creators Update, the  Winkey + Shift + S runs the Snipping Tool (in non-interactive mode) under the hood, using a new command-line switch. The following is what’s executed behind the scenes when you use the Winkey + Shift + S keystroke in the Creators Update.

snippingtool.exe /clip

As said earlier, this has changed in v1809 where the keystroke is powered by Snip & Sketch. For more information, see Using the built-in Snip & Sketch app in the article A Complete Guide to Taking Screenshots in Windows 10

Where is the screenshot file saved?

Windows auto-saves the screenshot of a selected screen area to a PNG file when you use Winkey + Shift + S. A background process named ScreenClippingHost.exe saves the image (PNG file) in the following folder:


win shift s screenshot screenclip folder

Tip: Reverse-sort the folder by the “Date” column to locate the latest screenshot. Also, you can create a shortcut of the ScreenClip folder on your desktop, or pin it to Quick access in File Explorer if you like.

Every time you press Winkey + Shift + S and select a screen area or window, Windows saves the screenshot to two PNG files in addition to saving the image on the Windows clipboard. One PNG file is a resized (lower resolution) screenshot, and the other one is a normal resolution.

Additionally, a .JSON file is saved which stores the coordinates of the rectangular area you selected on the screen. The JSON file is a plain-text file that contains a line similar to the following:


For Freeform snip, the JSON file would contain multiple lines. The .JSON file has no significant value for the user.

Additional Tip: To take a screenshot of the entire screen and save it to a PNG file in your Pictures\Screenshots folder, use the WinKey + PrntScrn keys.

Launch Screen snip by pressing PrintScreen

If you think the three keys combo Winkey + Shift + S is tough to operate, you can choose to have your PrtScn key open the new snipping bar, instead of Winkey + Shift + S. To do so:

  • Click Start → Settings → Ease of Access → Keyboard → Use the PrtScn button to open screen snippingcomplete guide to taking screenshots

If the above setting is enabled, your third-party screen capture tool, if installed any, may complain that it’s unable to register hotkey – PrintScreen. That’s normal, as only one application can register the hotkey at a time.

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About the author

Ramesh Srinivasan founded back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for 10 consecutive years from 2003 to 2012.

7 thoughts on “Screenshot a Portion of the Screen in Windows 10 [Winkey+Shift+S]”

  1. Where are the Screen Shots stored? Since my upgrade, I can not find any of my screenshots (which used to be in OneNote).

  2. I see now that I’ve LOST all of the screenshots that used to automatically be stored in OneNote. Is there a way to bring this feature back? I liked the fact that I could take screen shots and they would *automatically* be stored in OneNote. Is there a SIMPLE workaround? (The simplest solution is to return it to OneNote. The solution above is inconvenient.)

  3. Appreciate the tip! I take it there’s no way to have it automatically save to a file like you can on macOS using Command – Shift – 4?

  4. I guess its progress for windows ui but its a big step back for onenote users, now I need 3 extra clicks and keyboard input just to store a screenshot, way to go microsoft 🙁

  5. It is clear that Microsoft didn’t talk to Onenote users before they made this change. It breaks the entire way I use it.

  6. Hilariously doesn’t work right. Snip, select size, disappears, no screenshot saved in the screenshots folder, don’t even have a screenshots folder.

    • @Draylynn: The screenshot is copied to the clipboard (only) when you use Win + Shift + S and select the screen region.

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